Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cape Ann - 2/16/2014

Am. Wigeon with Black Ducks

The winter storm on the heels of the trip day provided a good deal of uncertainty. It turned out to be a gorgeous day of post storm birding, and the snowfall here had been overestimated (only 3 inches). We had one lone attendee join us. In addition to stopping at the traditional locations, we did a lot of exploring.

Glaucous Gull

  A Horned Lark greeted us at our meeting location on Western Ave. at Gloucester Harbor. It called as it hopped along the sidewalk just after we pulled up. Also at that location, we had the pleasure of a fly by Merlin. After scoping the harbor, we headed to the north end of Cape Ann. We encountered 20mph NW winds and choppy water. Viewing was difficult and birds were scarce. We tried our luck anyway, but there were no previously seen Barrow’s Goldeneyes and not a whole lot going on at Andrew’s Point. Quiet coves in the vicinity turned up mainly Mallards and American Black Ducks. Heading clockwise along the coast we eventually came to calmer waters and even hit some pockets of minimal wind. 

  Harlequin Ducks were present at scattered locations in Rockport. A large flock of Horned Larks were viewed at Good Harbor Beach. King Eider, Black Guillemots, Great Cormorants, and a Purple Sandpiper were all seen along Atlantic Ave. in Gloucester. Two American Wigeon and around 80 Purple Sandpipers were at Eastern Point. Large flocks of Snow Buntings were enjoyed at both Long Beach in Rockport and along Gloucester Harbor. Both Iceland and Glaucous Gulls were seen at close proximity at Jodrey Fish Pier. Also seen from the pier was the Peregrine on the City Hall tower.

Can you see the Snow Buntings?
  One of our favorite moments for the day was at a quiet cove in Rockport. There was a Harlequin Duck on a rock right at the shore. At the same location mixed in with a flock of American Black Duck, was a Red-necked Grebe. It was feeding amongst the ducks (practicing dabbling techniques?!) two feet from shore. Another wonderful experience of note was the contrast of the two flocks of Snow Buntings. The first flock was feeding in snow covered marsh grasses in which they blended in perfectly. The second flock was first seen on a road, then flushed to the roof of a four story building, and finally seen perched in a small tree!

Snow Buntings in a tree
  We ended our visit to Cape Ann with Vin spotting a Cooper’s Hawk just before the bridge over the Annisquam River. It is worth mentioning that on our ride home Vin also spotted a Bald Eagle, as did Liam a little later. Our last cool bird of the day was a Raven spotted by Vin.

Iceland Gulls

Complete list:

Brant 18 -- Plum Cove
Canada Goose 76
Gadwall 18 -- Gloucester Harbor
American Wigeon 2 -- Eastern Point
American Black Duck 197
Mallard 141
Greater Scaup 32 -- Gloucester Harbor
Lesser Scaup 6 -- Gloucester Harbor
King Eider 1 -- Drake, Elk’s club
Common Eider 494
Harlequin Duck 59
Surf Scoter 30
White-winged Scoter 196
Black Scoter 46
Long-tailed Duck 10
Bufflehead 59
Common Goldeneye 30
Hooded Merganser 2
Red-breasted Merganser 169
Common Loon 36
Horned Grebe 38
Red-necked Grebe 7
Great Cormorant 16
Cooper's Hawk 1 -- Seen from the car leaving Cape Ann
Bald Eagle 2 -- Adults flying over highway in Danvers and Wakefield on return.
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Purple Sandpiper 81 -- Elk’s club, 80 Dog Bar
Black Guillemot 7 -- Elk’s club
Black-legged Kittiwake 3 -- 2 at Cathedral Ledge, 1 at Granite Pier
Herring Gull 240
Iceland Gull 13 -- Jodrey State Fish Pier
Glaucous Gull 3 -- Jodrey State Fish Pier
Great Black-backed Gull 80
Rock Pigeon 129
Mourning Dove 12
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3
Merlin 1 -- Western Ave
Peregrine Falcon 1 -- Jodrey State Fish Pier
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 30
Common Raven 1 -- Over highway near Prospect Park in Waltham
Horned Lark 36 – 1 at Western Ave, 35 at Good Harbor Beach
Black-capped Chickadee 10
Tufted Titmouse 2
Carolina Wren 3
Hermit Thrush 1-- Penzance rd.
American Robin 400
Northern Mockingbird 8
European Starling 20
Snow Bunting 63 -- 30 at Long Beach, Rockport; 33 at Park at Fort Point
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 -- Loblolly Cove
American Tree Sparrow 3 -- Loblolly Cove
Song Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 3 -- Loblolly Cove
Dark-eyed Junco 2 -- Loblolly Cove
Northern Cardinal 5
Red-winged Blackbird 1 -- Loblolly Cove
House Finch 8
House Sparrow 400

Amy O’Neill & Liam Waters

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